Wie eingangs schon erwähnt, verrichtet der innovative Display-Klappmechanismus eine einwandfreie Arbeit. Abgesehen von leisen Knarzgeräuschen lässt sich das Panel ohne Probleme in eine für den Benutzer angenehme Position bringen. Auf einen Verriegelungsmechanismus wird dabei jedoch verzichtet.
Test Lenovo Thinkpad SL300 Notebook
Smart Business Starter.
The Lenovo Thinkpad SL300 is the last representative of the SL-Series in our tests. As the label suggests, it deals with with a compact 13.3 inch office notebook, whose affordable base price allows a wide audience to be introduced to the Thinkpad model lineup. Equipped with an integrated 4500M HD GPU, HDMI port, and optional Blu-Ray drive, the notebook also shows characteristics of a multimedia machine.
The Thinkpad SL300 is the smallest member of Lenovo's SL-series. The other models tested were the SL400 model with 14.1" display and the SL500 with a 15.4 inch panel. The SL-series holds a position in front of all other Thinkpad models and constitutes the entry-class in the Thinkpad model lineup.
Note: Our test sample of the SL300 is a pre-market device, so slight deviations from the retail model are possible.
The smallest member of the Lenovo SL-series also adheres to typical, series-specific design characteristics, the most notable of which are the slanted edges, which lets the notebook appear considerably thinner than it actually is. With dimensions of 318x238x36 millimeters, the notebook is thoroughly mobile, even if the height of almost four centimeters seems totally ordinary. The notebook's weight of 2140 grams in no way detracts from its use as a mobile device.
The SL300 also remains true to the other models of this series in the color design of its case. The notebooks is completely black, and the only departures from this color scheme are found in the keyboard, with the blue enter key and the red trackpoint. Aside from this, the key that calls the Lenovo Care Tools is positioned above a blue LED. Similarly, the on/off button is discretely illuminated by a green light.
Like its larger colleagues, the Thinkpad SL300 has a black display cover with a high gloss finish. On the right side towards the front is the series-specific Thinkpad logo with a red luminescent i-point. Whether the high gloss design is desireable or not is ultimately up to the user, but one thing is a fact - it makes the surface susceptible to getting dirty. A substantial amount of dust and fingerprints quickly gather and blemish the polished surface of the SL300.
As with the other SL models, the SL300 offers an extremely stable case. Under selective pressure, only negligible deformations occur, but it does make noticeable creaking noises. The display offers similarly good stability, but appears nevertheless to be beneath the quality of the larger SL models. So pressure on the display cover can perhaps cause observable changes on the activated display.
Together with the remaining SL models, the SL300's display has the same relatively strong clamshell design. In addition to a significant benefit in the prevention of display deformation, this design offers a list of advantages. Through interlocking with the base unit, it is practically impossible for foreign bodies to find their way under the cover. The metal hinges, although robust, can be relieved if the device falls. One point of criticism is the absence of security latches to secure the display in a closed position. This is the only way to fully protect against the possible intrusion of dangerous objects between the keyboard and the display.
The Thinkpad SL models are barely different from each other in the way of the peripheral connectivity and the arrangement of the ports. Like the other models, the SL300 has an ExpressCard slot as well as two USB 2.0 ports on the right side toward the front. Next is the optical drive, which can be installed optionally as a Blue-Ray drive. Toward the back there is another LAN input as well as the notebook's network input.
The back side, on the other hand, is used in large part for the Battery, which is positioned in the center. To the left of it lies the Kensington lock and the modem, and to the right, the analogue VGA port for the connection of an external monitor or projector.
On the left edge toward the back is a digital HDMI port and an additional USB 2.0 input. Toward the front, as with the larger SL-models, are the SD-card reader as well as the FireWire 1394a port. Positioned on the front side of the device are, lastly, the audio ports (headphones, microphone). Also, a hardware power button that deactivates the WLAN module can be found on the front edge.
The arrangement of the individual ports is, for all intents and purposes, acceptable. If one were to attach more than just an external device via USB to the notebook for a significant period of time, the connector and cable next to the notebook could lead to some limitations in use, due to the relatively forward position of the input on the right side.
Similarly, it should be mentioned that the situation of the individual ports, which on the SL300 is also extremely awkward, are poorly visible due to the V-shape design of the case.
The Thinkpad SL300 is also barely distinguishable from the larger SL400 and SL500 models in terms of its provided communications modules. The basic equipment includes the gigabyte ethernet interface from Realtek, as well as Intel's wireless WiFi Link 5100 module. This makes possible data transfer rates of up to 300 Mbps. Also available for the Lenovo SL300 notebook is Bluetooth 2.0.
As a highlight with regards to communication, the Thinkpad SL300 from Lenovo also possesses a UMTS preparation, meaning that all the necessary wiring and antennas are already integrated into the notebook. Depending on the model chosen, the notebook also possesses an integrated broadband modem, or else must be refitted with hardware from the provider of your choice.
For data security, the SL300 possesses the reliable Active Protection System (acceleration sensor), which quickly recognizes any jolts to the notebook and detaches the harddisk's read/write head from the data carrier.
For the purpose of access control, the SL300 also possesses an integrated fingerprint reader in the space beneath the heel of the right hand.
Other security features are offered, for example, by the ThinkPlus Secure Business Package, which ensures, for instance, repairs on the following business day and comprises the possibility for online data backup. These benefits must, however, be purchased separately with a corresponding fee (model-dependent). The standard basic warranty of the Thinkpad SL series applies for 12 months.
No matter which Thinkpad model from the SL series one chooses, the keyboard unit is always the same. From the 15.4 inch to the 13.3 inch variations of the SL models, one finds the same input panel. The keyboard's layout is overall compact, and almost crowded, and in this regard is different from the other Thinkpad models, whose keys are clearly structured and arranged in individual key groups.
The layout of the English keys in our test sample also displays the single-row enter key. Other than that, the key arrangement is consistent with the usual Thinkpad layout, which, however, pushes the FN-keys to the left edge and sets the delete key three keys to the inside.
Although the keyboard of the Thinkpad SL300 warps slightly under pressure, the deformation is, incomparison to its larger colleagues, only very slight. Typing on the keyboard proves to be thoroughly pleasant. Both the size of the individual keys, which matches those in the 15-inch model, as well as the sensation of typing are satisfying.
The touchpad, a component that is identical to the other models of the series, is also installed on the SL300. This is distinguished through a smooth and overall pleasant surface. The buttons on the touchpad depress to a good depth and are pleasant to push. The same applies for the trackpoint, which is available as an alternative to the touchpad for quick mobile navigation. The primary advantage to using the trackpoint is that there is no necessary movement space for the hand, and the mouse pointer can be navigated over the entire display without readjustment.
For the SL300, in contrast to the other Thinkpad SL models, until now only a single display variant has been available. This display is a 13.3 inch panel with an LED backlight and a resolution of 1280x800 pixels (WXGA). For this, only the minimum size is offered in overview, but this is completely normal for a display of comparable size.
In the display brightness measurements, the LED panel achieves thoroughly acceptable results. A maximum brightness of 269 cd/m² can be assessed in the top center. Unfortunately, we could also assess a brightness reduction in the lower corners down to 208 cd/m². This accounts for a below average illumination of only 77.3% .
With its reflective display surface, the display shows subjectively vibrant colors and a sharp picture. The measurements show, however, an extremely high black value of 1.77 cd/m², which, in combination with the maximum brightness of 269 cd/m², means a maximum contrast relationship of 152:1.
The usefulness of the notebook out of doors in brightly lit areas is, on the one hand, provided by its good average brightness of 237.6 cd/m², but on the other hand, its reflective display surface can cause distracting reflections and mirroring.
The viewing angle stability is not necessarily one of the display's strengths. In the vertical angle for example, even at small departures from the ideal angle there is considerable degradation to the picture in the form of an acute darkening as well as color distortions. Although horizontally the viewing angle is somewhat more stable, adverse effects quickly appear as well due to acute reflection at flat angles.
Video of Display's Viewing Angles
Like its colleagues in Lenovo's new notebook lineup, the Thinkpad SL300 is based on the new Intel Montevina platform. The smallest representative of the SL series is also available with a whole line of CPUs, beginning with a 2.0 GHz Celeron 575 single-core processing unit to the high performance Core 2 Duo T9600 processor with 2.8 GHz 6MB L2-cache and 1066 front side bus
For its graphics processing needs, the SL300 comes with an integrated graphics chip from Intel, the Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD. This supports Directx10 and also has integrated video decoding abilities. This allows it to relieve the processor, for example during the playback of HD videos. However, the primary field of use for this graphics solution is rather in less resource demanding office applications.
In the PCMark 2005 benchmark test, our Thinkpad SL300 test system, equipped with a P8600 CPU from Intel and the Intel GMA 4500M HD graphics chip, reached an average result of 4508 points. What is notable about this result is the extremely large disparity between the X300 and the Amilo Si3655 from Fujitsu-Siemens, both of which are based on the Intel Centrino 2 platform. Although it possesses a high performance 2.53 GHz T9400 CPU, this alone is not enough to explain a deficit of 900 points. Here the other hardware components come in to play, such as the RAM and hard disk, which make a similarly important contribution to a good result for the PC Mark 2005.
Where RAM is concerned, our test sample of the Thinkpad X300 was furnished altogether with 2048MB DDR2 RAM. The notebook supports a maximum of 4096 MB in two 2GB memory slots. In the RAM configuration, the first reason for the peculiar weakness in the PCMark 2005 benchmark test is found. While other Montevina systems are already equipped with the substantially better performing DDR3 RAM module with a system connection of up to 1066 MHz, The Thinkpad SL series is still provided with the obsolete, and therefore substantially cheaper, DDR2 module. The sale price of the system thereby profits at the expense of performance.
It appears totally different when one exclusively considers the CPU. The P8600 processor can give a thoroughly good performance in the Cinebench R10benchmark test. This also applies for the other available Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn processors. One extensive comparison test of the current Intel Centrino2 Penryn lineup can be found here . With the exception of the Celeron CPU from Intel, the Thinkpad SL300 is, with regard to the central processing unit, equipped the best. One should only choose the Celeron CPU with minimal standards from processing speeds.
The hard disk installed in our test device is a mass storage device from the Fujitsu (MHZ3350BH) with a gross capacity of 250GB. The hard disk operates at a speed of 5400 U/min and therefore reaches an average access time of 17.6 seconds and an average transfer rate of 44MB/sec in the HDTune benchmark test. These results place the hard disk in the middle of the field for comparable mass storage devices.
|3DMark 2001SE Standard||5639 points|
|3DMark 03 Standard||2389 points|
|3DMark 05 Standard||1387 points|
|3DMark 06||937 points|
|PCMark 05 Standard||4508 points|
|PCMark Vantage Result||3225 points|
|Shading 32Bit||1024 Points|
|Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit||4899 Points|
|Rendering Single 32Bit||2621 Points|
In the noise emissions test, the SL300 behaves very similarly to the other representatives of the Thinkpad SL series, the SL400 and the SL500, which have already been tested. In the idle state, the fan operates continuously at a low level with a recorded volume of 35.7 dB(A). Subjectively, this level of noise can be described as not disturbing and inconspicuous.
When performance demands on the notebook rise, the picture hardly changes at first. Only after a while does the system fan raise its rotation speed, thereby also increasing the volume of the notebook to 37.4 dB(A). Altogether, the SL300 is describably even under such demands as a relatively quiet device.
35.7 / 35.7 / 35.7 dB(A)
||39 / dB(A)|
||37.4 / 37.4 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: (15 cm distance)
The observed surface temperatures always remain in the green area. These reach, on the top side of the base unit, a maximum of up to 35.6 °C, and on the underside, up to 38.0 °C. Also, the perceived warming of the case remained, subjectively, within good bounds.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.6 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 38 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 36.6 °C / 98 F
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35.6 °C / 96.1 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 27.9 °C / 82.2 F (-7.7 °C / -13.9 F).
The Thinkpad SL300 offers two speakers, on the left and the right above the keyboard. In spite of the present situation of the sound sources, these sound somewhat restrained and produce almost no low tones in their sound spectrum. The maximum volume seems thoroughly acceptable, though a slight overload can be observed at the maximum volume. For downmarket music playback at an adaptedly low volume, the speakers are certainly usable.
The 3.5mm headphone jack displayed no distinctive features in the test and delivered clear and full sound.
For its mobile energy source, the SL300 uses a 4 cell lithium-ion battery. With a capacity of 2.6 Ah (37.4 Wh), this battery, in the test of maximum battery life with the notebook set to the minimum display brightness and with the energy-saver profile active (BatteryEater Readers Test), achieves a run time of just over four hours.
However, under performance demands in the BatteryEater Classic test (max. display brightness, WLan on, highest performance energy profile), after only 57 minutes, the battery is dead. The SL300 also achieved a thoroughly useful value in the test of practical WLan run time at the maximum display brightness and with the energy saver profile activated. In this case, a life of just over three hours can be reached. In this light, mobile use of the SL300 is definitely conceivable.
Moreover, if higher standards with regard to battery life are needed, the Thinkpad SL300 can also be equipped with a 6 cell, or even a 9 cell battery. Depending on the configuration of the notebook, up to a doubling of the measured lifetime can be expected from this change.
|Off / Standby||0 / 0 Watt|
|Idle|| 16 / 23 / 25 Watt|
48 / 51 Watt|
Finally, the Thinkpad SL300, the last of its series in our test, shows what it can do. With respect to the case, the SL300 offers a solid base with good stability. With a weight of a little more than two kilograms, the notebook is satisfactory for mobile use. In this regard, although, the display cover with its high gloss finish lends itself to criticism, since it promotes the appearance of dirt and scuff marks, especially with mobile use.
The SL300 is equipped with a Blu-Ray drive and possesses a digital HDMI port ex works. Furthermore, the compact Thinkpad offers comprehensive communications modules, such as its gigabyte LAN, Bluetooth, and Intel 5100 wireless LAN. As a special bonus, Lenovo equips all SL models with a UMTS preparation, which can be used with hardware from each particular provider.
In terms of performance, the Thinkpad SL300 can be classified as an office notebook, but depending on the choice of CPU, thoroughly respectable processing power is possible. In many uses, the performance is limited, above all due to the built-in DDR2 memory modules, although the notebook is based on the new IntelPM45 and therefore can support the faster DDR3 RAM module.
The SL300 scores extremely positively in the area of emissions. The notebook shows both a low level of noise as well as low surface temperatures. This is optimal for use in quiet surroundings.
The battery life, with the smallest available 4 cell battery, also appears thoroughly practical. Optionally, the more performance-capable battery packs with 6, or even 9 cells are available.
Because of the interesting entry price of considerably less than 1000.- Euros, the Thinkpad SL300 comes into question for price-oriented mobile office users, who know to take the business features, like the Thinkvantage Software, for example, or the UMTS preparation, into account. Because of the HDMI ports that are offered and the optional Blu-Ray drive, multimedia users also don't miss out.